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i3sr THE SE:^s^^TIl:, 

Wednesday, May 2, 1900, 

■ <>»:^^»^ 







Mr. Mason addressed tbo Senate on the snbject of food ad alteration, the report of the Com- 
mittee on Manufactures, and the necessary legislation to carry into effect the recommendations 
of the committee. 

Mr. Mason. Mr. President, I think the reason will appear before I 
finish my remarks this morning why I take up the discussion of the 
adulteration of the food manufactured or prepared in this country at 
this time. I will state the matter as briefly as I can consistently with 
my duty as I see it, considering the importance of this question. I 
recognize the fact that the subject is somewhat tedious to those who 
have taken no special interest in it; jet it is one of the most impor- 
tant subjects before the present Congress. 

This is the only civilized country in the world that does not protect 
the consumer of food products against the adulterations of manufac- 
turers. I think I can say that, civilized or uncivilized, this is almost 
the only country that does not give to the consumer some protection 
when he goes into the market to buy prepared food for himself and 
his family. 

The committee have had the matter under investigation, and have 
taken a great deal of evidence in Chicago, in Washington, and in 
New York, in accordance with the resolution which was passed by 
this Senate, and which gave that committee authority to find what, 
if any, food products were adulterated, what of those adulterations 
were deleterious to the public health, and what, if any, adulterations 
were mere sophistications and a mere fraud upon consumers. 

I think, Mr. President, you will understand at once that there are 
two classes of adulterated food. For instance, and by way of illus- 
tration, you buy a jar of honey. The committee find by analysis 
that it consists of less than 1 per cent of honey, a little honeycomb on 
top of the glass jar, and the rest of it is filled up with glucose. While 
glucose is not unhealthy, and is a natural product, undoubtedly, as 
any other sugar produced from cane or beets, yet one can readily see 
that that is a sophistication and fraud upon the consumer. 

The Senate has gone to the expense and trouble of sending us to 
work on this committee, and there has been no special objection made, 
so far as I Imow, and no special lobby here against any part of the 
bill until after we made a report condemning certain articles which go 
into human food, and which I propose now to take up, and that is the 
question of baking powders. 

We start out with the two propositions: First, that all articles that 
go into the manufacture of human food that is deleterious to public 
health ought to be prohibited. For years we have stood on the propo- 
sition that alum baking powder ought to be marked for what it is. 
But as a matter of fact it was found impracticable, and in the States 
where they compel them to mark alum on the outside ^\i^"^ V^n^ Ns^. 

44j3 ^ 



most cases f otind some way to conceal the fact that alnm is in the 
baking powder. We have had before the committee no less than 
twenty different cans where there has been a State law compelling 
them to mark the alum in the baking powder. We have had no less 
than twenty different samples of different manufacturers who had 
attempted or pretended to comply with the law, and it said "just as 
good as cream of tartar baking powder," putting in large letters the 
words *' cream of tartar." 

Mr. President, you can enter into no avocation of life without opiK)- 
sition. When we thought to put through the bill years ago to compel 
them to mark oleomargarine for what it was, we were met with the 
opposition of those gentlemen who wanted to sell oleomargarine for 
butter. When we attempted to put through a pure-flour bill we were 
met with opposition, and bitter opposition. We felt it everywhere, 
and in the capital of the United States we met opposition from men 
who were interested in selling to the American people, under false 
colors and under false names, a thing that was not flt to go into the 
human stomach. 

When we made this report we made it based on the evidence before 
us. The report is based upon the evidence, and the evidence is sim- 
ply overwhelming. I do not care how big a lobby there may be here 
for the alum baking powder, I do not care how many memorials they 
publish, and they have published one here. We kept our committee 
open for a year, and I have letters and telegrams showing that if they 
had any evidence to offer that alum was a fit subject to go into the 
human stomach they could have produced it. Yet they bring here an 
af&davit by some man who said he wrote me as chairman of the com- 
mittee and sent me a registered letter, asking to come before the 
committee, and he never received any answer, whereas I was in com- 
munication almost every day with both the manufacturers of baking 
powders, asking them to bring in their evidence, and all the evidence 
they produced was the witnesses they called on behalf of the alum 
baking powder. 

There is an underlying fact back of all this. There is no place in 
the human economy of human food for this thing called alum. The 
overwhelming evidence of the leading physicians and scientists of this 
country is that it is absolutely unfit to go into human food, and that 
in many cases — ^if the gentleman will read the evidence, some of the 
physicians say they can trace cases in their own practice — ^there are 
diseases of the kidneys due to the perpetual use of alum in their daily 

>|c « « 4c >|c « ♦ 

If these gentlemen are wrong, upon whose testimony we rely, I have 
no desire to prohibit the use of alum. I want to give the Senate an 
idea of the class of men we have called. They are the leading scien- 
tists from every college of the United States that we could get hold of. 
Yet I have no doubt that many of these have been suggested by the 
cream of tartar baking-powder companies. I have no doubt that 
plenty of them were suggested by them to be called, for we had open 
doors, and no witness ever came before that committee in the twelve 
months we were hearing evidence but who was permitted to testify. 

>|c 4c ♦ « « 4e ♦ 

I am not dealing with the trust question. I am simply saying that 
the leading physicians of the world say that cream of tartar is a 
pure, natural, healthy food product. It is a product of the grape, 


and when it is put in solution in the bread with soda, if there is a 
residuum left it does not hurt the stomach, and it does not go into 
nor injure the brain or the blood or the kidneys. 

When you mix a mineral poison, as they all say that alum is, it is 
impossible to mix it always to* such a degree that there will not be a 
residuum left of alum, which produces alumina and which contributes 
largely to the diseases of the people in this country. 

I will tell you now of the men before the committee who condemned 
the use of alum baking powder, some in one language and some in 
another. I have not all the names. I simply asked my stenographer 
to go through hastily and give me those that could be found readily 
out of 700 or 800 pages of evidence there. 

Ames, Howard E., surgeon. United States Navy, Washington, D. C. 

Appleton, John Howard, professor of chemistry, Brown University, 
Providence, R. I. 

Army, United States, refuses to allow the use of alum in anything 
like a food product in the United States Army. 

Arnold, J. W. S., professor. University of New York. 

Atwater, W. O., professor and director Government experimental 
station, Washington, D. C. 

Barker, George F., professor. University of Pennsylvania. 

Busey, S. C, professor, Washington, D. C. 

Caldwell, G. C., professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y. 

Chandler, C. F., professor, Columbia University, New York. 

Chittenden, Russell H., professor, Yale University, New Haven, 

Cornwall, H. B., professor. University of Princeton, New Jersey. 

Crampton, C. A., professor, Division of Chemistiy, Washington, 
D. C. 

Cuthbert, Dr. M. F., physician, Washington, D. C. 

De Schweinitz, Emile, professor. United States Department of 
Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 

Fairhurst, Alfred, professor, chemist. University of Kentucky, 
Lexington, Ky. 

Fleming, Walter M., physician. New York City. 

Frear, William, professor, State College, l*ennsylvania. 

Freeman, George F., surgeon, United States Naval Hospital, Wash- 
ington, D. C, 

Jenkins, Edward H., professor, department of agriculture, State of 

Johnston, Dr. William W., Washington, D. C. 

Johnson, Joseph Taber, professor of surgery, Washington, D. C. 

Johnson, S. W., professor, Yale College, New Haven, Conn. 

Kerr, Dr. William R., ex-health officer, Chicago, 111. He is not a 

Mallet, John William, professor, University of Virginia. 

The Marine-Hospital Service reject in their rules all alum baking 
powders or any food containing alum. It is a drug, and no chemist 
has ever testified that in any food that goes into the stomach of any 
animal the particles that form alum are found. It is a poison, and it 
is so testified to by every one of these witnesses, some in one form and 
some in another. 

McMurtrie, William, professor, consulting and analytical chemist. 

Mew, W. M., professor, Army and Medical Department, United 
States Government. 



Morton, Henry, president of Stevens Institute, Hoboken, N. J. 

Munroe, Charles Edward, professor of chemistry, Columbian Uni- 
versity, Washington, D. C. 

Mott, Henry A., professor, New York City. 

The United States Navy refuses, under the direction of the Surgeon- 
General, to have alum used in any of the products that go into the food 
of the men of the Navy. 

Prescott, Albert B., professor, Univerity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 

Price, A. F., medical director United States Naval Hospital, Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

Smart, Charles, lieutenant-colonel, assistant surgeon-general, United 
States Army. 

Sternberg, Greorge M., Surgeon-Gteneral United States Army, Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

Stringfield, C. Pruyn, professor, Chicago Baptist Hospital, Chicago. 

Thurber, Francis B., president, American Grocer Publishing Com- 
pany, New York City; not a chemist. 

Tucker, Willis G., professor of chemistry and director of State 
board of health. State of New York. 

Vaughan, Victor C, professor. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 

Van Reyi)en, W. K., Surgeon-General United States Navy, Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

Wayne, E. S., professor, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Weber, H. A., professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. 

Wiley, Prof. H. W., Chief Chemist, Department of Agriculture, 
United States, Washington, D. C. 

Wise, John C, medical inspector, United States Navy. 

Withers, Prof. W. A., chemist. North Carolina agricultural experi- 
ment station, Raleigh, N. C. 

Wyman, Walter, Surgeon-General United States Marine Hospital, 
Washington, D. C. 

Woodward, Dr. William C, health of&cer, Washington, D. C. 

« >|c « « « 4c It 

Mr. Pettigrew. I should like to ask the Senator a further question. 

The Presiding Officer. Does the Senator from Illinois yield? 

Mr. Mason. Certainly. 

Mr. Pettigrew. Then the mass of testimony was that there must 
be alum left after the chemical process takes place? 

Mr. Mason. No. 

Mr. Pettigrew. In the baking powder there must be some left — a 

Mr. Mason. Yes; not necessarily in each case, but that there would 
be, in all human probability. 

Mr. Pettigrew. And that the constant use of it would be injurious? 

Mr. Mason. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Pettigrew. That was the universal testimony? 

Mr. Mason. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Pettigrew. Was there any testimony which showed that there 
were cases of injury to health as a result of constant use? 

Mr. Mason. Yes; I can turn you to the testimony. 

Mr, Pettigrew. I do not care to have the Senator turn to it. I 
simply want to emphasize the point. I agree with the Senator. It 
has always been my own impression that alum baking powder is injuii- 


ons, but I wanted to bring it out and make it emphatic, if the proof 
sustains that position. Of course, alum baking powder is yery much 
cheaper than the other, and it would be to the advantage of the pub- 
lic if it were equally healthful to use it, and it would be a disadvan- 
tage to discourage its use. But if it is injurious to health, of course 
the question of price does not come in. 

Mr. Mason. I quite agree with the Senator. I only speak now for 
myself. I put in the report based upon the evidence. I never 
examined the law. It is claimed that there is not a country in Europe 
that does not prohibit the use of alum. Certainly three or four of 
the leading countries of Europe to which I have had my attention 
called prohibit the use of alum in baking powder. But if I could be 
convinced that, being a cheaper product, it was healthful, if it is the 
desire to pass this bill or the bill introduced by the Senator now in 
the chair, leave out that question. The main thing I want to get is 
to establish a standard of food products, and if the prohibitive bill 
does not pass I still want one bill to fix the standard, to give a start 
for this department which we ought to have in this country, and 
which every other civilized country in the world has except ours. 

j|e 4c 4e « ♦ 4c ♦ 

I wish to be understood in this matter, Mr. President, after calling, 
as I did call, as chairman of the committee, on the leading professors 
of every college in New England, and every one of them condemned 
the use of this article of food, yet to-day when you buy your food in 
a dining car, hotel, or boarding house you are getting it, and you are 
getting it because some of the Senators may say hereafter it is a little 
cheaper. Yet one of the best physicians in Chicago testified that in 
his judgment a large percentage of the disease of this country was 
attributable to the perpetual and continual use of alum. 

I have no desire, and I dislike as much as anyone, to enter into this 
contest. I know what that sort of warfare means. I appreciate it 
here every day when people can file memorials of this kind. But you 
can not stand here and fight the people who adulterate the food of 
this country without having that sort of a fight on your hands, and if 
they insist on that sort of a fight, so far as I am concerned I shall have 
to trust to my health and to the Lord to get through with those people. 

4e a|c >|c * ♦ 4e 9|e 

Mr. Pettigrew. So there is no injurious result in the use of cream 
of tartar? 

Mr. Mason. Everyone who has testified upon this subject says there 
is not. 

Mr. Pettigrew. The combinations, then, of that acid with the 
soda which produces the gases that raise the bread does not produce 
a chemical result that is injurious in any way? 

Mr. Mason. No, sir; I say there is no reputable chemist who has 
been before this committee who has testified to anything of that kind. 

Mr. Pettigrew. I knew the Senator was familiar with the evience, 
and I wanted to bring that point out, because it is important. 

Mr. Mason. That is right. That is exactly the evidence. Now, 
I do not say that there may not be other evidence to be produced; and 
if there is, we are ready to hear it; we have never closed the door; 
but after hearing what this evidence was and waiting a year for those 
gentlemen, we thought we would make a report to the Senate of the 
true situation. 

4e 4e 4e 4e a|c « % 



Mr. Pbttigrew. Did the chemists who came before the commit- 
tee, these professors, generally testify — was it the result of their evi- 
dence—that the cream of tartar baking powder is healthy and does not 
leave a residuum which is injurious to health? 

Mr. Mason. Yes; I say emphatically yes; that the weight of the evi- 
dence is that wherever any of these distinguished men, who have a 
national reputation, the leading chemists of the colleges, were inter- 
rogated upon the point, they stated that fact, every one of them, to 
my recollection. Of course I am only speaking from memory now; 
but not one of them said that there was a prospect of anything dele- 
terious coming from the use of cream of tartar, and the reason for it 
was given that one was a fruit acid and the other was a mineral acid. 

On the question of extracts I had spoken but briefly when I was 
diverted for some reason or in some way. I think it is more grossly 
adulterated, but perhaps there is not so much danger from it from 
the fact that it is used in such small quantities. In aU of these adulter- 
ants — for instance. Dr. Wiley testified that in salicylic acid it is put 
in beer to preserve it; that is, it destroys the germ life and prevents 

It is put in in such small quantities that people drinking moderately 
are not injured by it; but in the extracts in one year nearly that we 
were taking evidence, there was but one manufacturer in the United 
States who offered to have this committee go through his factory from 
top to bottom and examine everything he had. We adopted the same 
rule as to extracts that we did as to every other food product. We 
went into the open market and bought it and sent it to Dr. Wiley, who 
is the Chief Chemist in the Department, and he analyzed it. Now, 
take vanilla extract. Ought there not to be a standard fixed? Ought 
there not to be some way that the consumer may be protected and the 
honest producer protected? 

The bill which I had the honor of introducing and which, as I said, 
was prepared by Dr. Wiley, will, I believe, fix a standard. I do not 
think the bill is perfect. It will be a step in the right direction, and 
it will be taken & I can induce the Senators of the United States to 
read only one-half of the evidence that has been taken here as to the 
adulteration that is being practiced. Why, take the question of jel- 
lies alone. Take a pail of glucose, which is in itself healthy if it is 
properly made. It will have a teacupf ul of acid that would eat your 
hand off if you put it into it and stir it in. This is the evidence sworn 
to before the committee. 

Sometimes they will get the apple parings from an apple-paring 
factory, or from some apple-drying establishment, and boil them out 
so as to give a little apple flavor; but as a rule not. They put in 
aniline dyes in the glucose to sour it, or rather to color it, and the 
acids to sour it. I said to one man who made it, "Now, that is apple 
jelly?" "Yes." "How did you make it?" He told me. I said, 
"This is currant jelly?" "Yes." "How did you make it?" He 
said, "I made it just as I did my apple jelly, except I put in a little 
more red." 

Now, those things are sold, and they are sold, as a rule, to poor 
people, who have not an opportunity, who have not the ability, who 
have not the chance, to put away tiieir own preserves. Every man 
should be prohibited from putting into the manufacture of food prod- 
ucts in this country those dangerous acids. As I said, if one child 


would only eat one slice of bread with one spreading of this once a 
day, the danger is not there, but it is a cheap product and they say 
it is cheap. They recognize this because it is cheap; it looks like the 
genuine ttiing, and you go down among the poor i)eople and you find 
them using what you would not permit to go into the stomach of your 
child if you knew it. I say that this is the only country in the world 
that does not have some standard fixed. 

« ♦ « ♦ « >|c « 

Candies and confectionery are the source of a good deal of trouble 
in this country, and we found it difficult to get at the real facts regard- 
ing them. I subpoenaed before the committee the leading confection- 
ers of Chicago, and every one of them testified that he had stopped 
the use of aniline dyes, and that he did not use terra alba or ground 
earth; and yet the analyses showed adulteration, though not in their 
product. ♦ * ♦ 

I think Senators can hardly fail to appreciate the importance of 
having the confectionery of this country made safe. If there is any 
class we ought to protect it is the children. They get money in the 
most inconceivable ways. There never was a boy or a girl born, in 
my judgment, who would obey the rules of home government in regard 
to confectionery. 

♦ ♦ ♦ « « m « 

This is a serious question so far as that is concerned; and the report 
of the committee is that on all goods, whether candy for the children 
or honey on the table for us old folks, or beer or wine or anything 
else, these preservatives are not safe in the hands of the manufacturer, 
and that he frequently uses them to cover his own negligence, to cover 
up the defects in his own manufacture; and that the Government of 
the United States ought absolutely to prohibit such a practice. I do 
not believe that aniline dyes ought to go into confectionery. 

When glucose goes into any food product it should be marked. 
Certainly that is fair when glucose masquerades as honey. We found 
that some people made a very fair quality of maple sirup by boiling 
hickory bark and pouring it into glucose, but it should be marked as 
containing glucose. 

We considered the question of cream of tartar. Dr. Wiley, of the 
Agricultural Department, went for the committee to a number of 
diSCerent places to buy cream of tartar. His evidence shows — I only 
state this from recollection — that he bought cream of tartar in seven 
different drug stores and groceries, and but three of the samples were 
pure cream of tartar. They were *'C. T. S.," cream of tartar substi- 
tute, which is a preparation of alum; and even in the drug stores, 
where they are supposed to keep pure cream of tartar, that was the 

«->ic * * m « « 

I want again to restate what the committee of which I was the 
chairman propose to you. First, that all foods which are manufac- 
tured and which are sophisticated shall be marked for what they are; 
second, that food which is deleterious to public health be prohibited, 
and that the shipment of it from one State to another or its manufac- 
ture and sale in any District or Territory or insular possession shaU 
be prohibited. The reasons for this, which I ask you to remember, 
are, first, to protect the honest manufacturer from unfair coiEL^t.\<;iVQi^\ 



second, to protect the consumer, who has a right to know what ho 
buys; and, third, to give credit and character to the goods of America, 
as we did in the case of flour, so that we may increase the sale of the 
products of American factories and American farms in other cootrieus. 

[Senate Report No. 516, Fifty-sixth Congress, first session.] 

Under the following resolution: 

Whereas it is aud has been for years publicly charged that in the manufacture 
of articles of food and drink many manufacturers of the United States, who 
transport their goods from one State to another do most grossly adulterate such 
products, to the serious detriment of the public health and to the defrauding of 
purchasers: Therefore, 

Resolved, That the Committee on Manufactures of the Senate is hereby author- 
ized and directed to investigate and ascertain what, if any, manufactiurers are 
adidterating food and drink products, and which, if any, of said products are 
frauds upon the purchasers. 

Your committee beg leave to report that after the passage of said 
resolution they began taking evidence under the same, and have pro- 
ceeded from time to time in different cities of the United States, which 
evidence has been duly reported and printed for the use of the Senate. 

The committee can not emphasize too strongly the importance of 
this investigation and proposed legislation. The adulteration of pre- 
pared or manufactured foods isvery extensively practiced and in many 
cases to the great discredit of our manufacturers. It is only fair to 
say, however, that a large proportion of the American manufacturers 
who are engaged in adultering food products do so in order to meet 
competition, and it is the expression of those gentlemen to say, "We 
would be glad to get out of the business of adulterating. We would 
like to quit putting this stuff in coffee, and would be willing to brand 
our sirups for what they are, but our competitors get a trade advan- 
tage which we can not surrender." 

It is the purpose of this committee to adopt this uniform rule: To 
prohibit the sale of deleterious and unhealthy food products, and as to 
those food products which are simply cheapened by adulterants, to 
compel the marking of those goods for what they are. An examina- 
tion of the resolution shows that these are the two objects to be sought: 
To ascertain what food products are dangerous to public health, and, 
second, what products are sold in fraud to the consumer. The com- 
mittee has adopted the rule above stated, for the reason that it feels 
that deleterious food products should be prohibited and the rest thor- 
oughly regulated. 


The evidence before the committee shows that all our peppers, cin- 
namon, cloves, and spices generally, including ginger and mustard, 
are adulterated. One manufacturer testified that *'he adulterated 
these largely with cocoanut shells, and that the amount of adulterants 
put in depended upon the man who ordered it." 

In the case of butter, cheese, and flour, the frauds practiced were so 
apparent and dealt so with the most important food products that the 
revenue plan seemed to be, and is, wise and successful, and it may 
become necessary, if the real purpose of this bill meets with opposi- 
tion and defeat, wise, and prudent for this committee to have prepared 



and ready revenne legislation to reach some of the most glaring evils 
by adding it to the next revenue bill. 

An important article of diet is the candy consumed by the children 
of the country, a natural and proper element of food, which has been 
greatly adulterated, and in the opinion of the committee still is. 
Large amounts of aniline dyes, a product of coal tar, are used in the 
coloring of candy. It is also undoubtedly true that to some extent 
terra alba is used. 

The evidence given before the committee by the manufacturers of 
sirup is entirely verified by the analysis. The committee has had 
before it scores of samples, and in almost no case was the sirup marked 
for what it really was. We have had as high as four grades of maple 
sirup, all branded "Maple Sirup" and containing all the way from 20 
to 80 per cent of glucose. 

The committee has had samples of jars of honey holding 2 quarts 
of what was marked "Honey," with about one ounce of floating 
honey comb on the top of the jar, and the rest glucose. 


In view of the very general use of baking powder in the household 
economy and its consequent importance, entering as it does into the 
daily diet of young and old, the vigorous and enfeebled, of all classes 
and conditions of society, youj committee approached the investiga- 
tion of the subject with a great deal of care, determined, if possible, 
to gather such facts as woidd justify it in arriving at a conclusion that 
would satisfy the public mind and settle at once and forever whether 
fruit acid from the grape or mineral acid from alum was the proper 
constituent of a baking powder. In this your committee believes it 
has fully succeeded. 

Attached ta this report will be found the testimony of eminent scien- 
tific men, chemists, physiologists, and doctors of medicine, gentlemen 
of the very highest standing in their several professions, overwhelm- 
ingly condemnatory of the use of alum in the manufacture of baking 
powder and recommending that it be prohibited by law. 

This testimony is of a character that must command the confidence 
and respect of those whose aim and object it is to get at the truth and 
who seek to promote the public welfare by conserving the public 

While your committee recognizes the existence of a general repug- 
nance to what is termed sumptuary legislation, and where it still fur- 
ther recognizes the consideration due to private rights as represented 
by the capital invested in the manufacture of alum baking powders, 
yet it conceives there is still a higher duty due from the State to its 
citizens in protecting them against an article or articles distinctly 
deleterious to the public health. It was with this ultimate object in 
view that your committee was authorized to make the searching inves- 
tigation in which it has been engaged for the past twelve months, and 
covering a wide range of subjects, and it would feel that its time was 
worse than wasted if it were not prepared to make specific recom- 
mendations based upon the evidence which it has taken, where such 
evidence is conclusive. Therefore, so far as the use of alum in the 
manufacture of a food product, such as baking powder, is concerned, 
the committee, in view of the overwhelming mass of evidence antag- 
onistic to its use, recommends that its use in food products and baking 
powders be prohibited by law. 




The evidence of the Government chemists shows that practically 
every sample of cream of tartar which was purchased in groceries 
and drug stores was a fraud. His evidence shows but one sample 
having the least trace of cream of tartar in it; that he did buy sam- 
ples at the cream-of-tartar establishments which were pure, and which 
he took as standard for making other analyses. This adulterated 
cream of tartar is known to the trade as C. T. S., which means cream 
of tartar substitute, which is a product of alum, and has no place in 
the diet of a human being. 

Cream of tartar, as shown by the evidence, is a natural food product 
from the grape, and is an article of very common use, not only in the 
manufacture of baking powder, but among the millions of families 
who buy, or try to buy, cream of tartar and make their own baking 
powder as they need it. But by this deception thousands of people 
eat this cream of tartar substitute, which is alum, who would not will- 
ingly use alum as an article of food. Such deception and adulter- 
ation should be prohibited by law. 

[S. 4047, Fifty-sixth CJongress, first session,] 

A bill for the protection of the public health. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United Slates of America in Congress assembled^ That any person or 
persons, company, or corporation who shall manufacture or cause to 
be manufactured, sell or offer to sell, ship or deliver for shipment, 
any article of food, or any article or compound intended to be used 
in the composition or preparation of food, in which article or com- 
pound there is, as added ingredient, any chrome yellow, coal-tar dye, 
colorine, formaldehyde, fluoride, salicylic acid, sulphuric acid, ammo- 
nia, alum, copper salts, zinc salts, or terra alba, within the District of 
Columbia or the Territories of the United States shall be guilty of a 
felony and, upon, conviction, fined not less than 1500 nor more than 
$2,000 for the first offense, and for each subsequent offense shall be, 
upon conviction, fined not less than $2,500 nor more than $10,000, or 
be imprisoned not less than one year nor more than five years, or 
both. Such fine and imprisonment to be in the discretion of the court. 

Sec. 2. That any person or persons, company, or corporation, who 
shall introduce into any State or Territory or the District of Colum- 
bia, from any other State or Territory or the District of Columbia, or 
from any foreign country, any article of food, or any article or com- 
pound intended to be used in the composition or preparation of food, 
containing any of the chemicals or substances specified within this 
act, or any person who ships or delivers for shipment, or causes to be 
shipped or delivered for shipment, to any State or Territory, or to 
the District of Columbia, or to a foreign country, or who shall receive 
or cause to be received, or who shall deliver or cause to be delivered, 
or who shall sell or offer to sell or cause to be sold, outside of the 
State in which the same was manufactured, any article of food, or 
any article or compound intended to be used in the composition or 
preparation of food, containing any of the chemicals or substances 
specified within this act, shall be guilty of a felony, and shall be, 
upon conviction, fined not less than $500 nor more than $2,000 for the 
" ' ^^ense, and for each subsequent offense shall be, upon convic- 


tion, fined not less than $2,500 nor more than $10,000, or be impris- 
oned not less than one year nor more than five years, or both. Such 
fine and imprisonment to be in the discretion of the court. 

Sbo. 3. That any article of food, or any article or compound intended 
to be used in the comi)osition or preparation of food, which contains 
as added ingredient, any one or more of the aforementioned sub- 
stances and is being transported from one State or Territory or the 
District of Columbia to another State, Territory, or the District of 
Columbia, or if it be sold or offered for sale in the District of Colum- 
bia or the Territories of the United States, or if it be imported from 
a foreign country for sale or use, or if it be intended for export to a 
foreign country, it shall be liable to be proceeded against in any dis- 
trict court of the United States within the district in which the same 
is found and to be seized for confiscation and destruction by a process 
of libel for condemnation; and all such proceedings shall be at the 
suit of and in the name of the United States. 

Sec. 4. That the Secretary of Agriculture shall have charge of the 
enforcement of this act. He shall for this purpose procure or cause 
to be procured, and analyze or cause to be analyzed or examined chem- 
ically, microscopically, or otherwise, samples of articles of food and 
of articles or compounds intended to be used in the preparation of 
food, offered for sale in the District of Columbia or the Territories of 
the United States, or found in any State other than that in which they 
shaU have been manufactured or produced, or imported from a for- 
eign country or intended for exi)ort to a foreign country. He is 
hereby authorized to employ such chemists or other experts, inspect- 
ors, clerks, laborers, or other employees as may be necessary to carry 
out the provisions of this act. He shall annually report to the Con- 
gress the results of the examinations herein provided and make such 
other publication thereof as he may deem proper. 

Sec. 5. That if it shall appear from the examinations provided for 
in section 4 hereof that any of the provisions of this act have been 
violated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall at once certify the fact to 
the proper district attorney, with a copy of the results of the analyses 
duly authenticated by the analyst or examiner under oath, and such 
certification of the Secretary of Agriculture shall be prima facie evi- 
dence of the statements therein set forth. It shall be the duty of 
every district attorney to whom the Secretary of Agriculture shall 
report any violation of this act to cause proceedings to be begun and 
prosecuted without delay for the fines and penalties in such case pro- 
vided. But the provisions of this section shall not prevent any citi- 
zen or district attorney from proceeding indei)endently for any violation 
of this act. AU fines collected under this act shall annually be appor- 
tioned among the agricultural colleges of the several States in the 
same manner as provided for the proceeds of the sale of public lands. 



Victor C. Vaughan, being first duly sworn, testified as follows: 

Examination by the Chairman: 
Q. What is your name? — ^A. My name is Victor C. Vaughan. 
Q. Where do you live? — ^A. I live at Ann Arbor, Mich* 
Q. You are temporarily here in Chicago ^ ai:^ 'JoxslI — K, X^^^^sa* 



Q. Do you hold any official position in your State? — A. I am dean 
of the medical faculty of the University of Michigan and professor of 
hj^giene in the University of Michigan. 

Q. Have you had public connection in Government affairs during 
the Spanish war? — A. I am still major and division surgeon in the 
Volunteer Army. 

Q. Division surgeon. That makes you ranking surgeon of the 
division? — A. Yes, sir. I served through the Santiago campaign as 

Q. Before you enlisted you held, and do you still hold, your position 
in the University of Michigan? — A. I do; yes, sir. 

Q. Permit me to ask you where you graduated as a physician — A. I 
graduated at the University of Michigan. I have since studied in 
Berlin, Paris, and other places. 

Q. Have you given the subject of food adulteration some thought? — 
A. Yes, sir; I have been professor of hygiene for twenty-five years, 
and I have been very deeply interested in the subject of the adultera- 
tion of foods, and I am very glad that there is a probability that the 
General Government will take up this matter. 

The Chairman. How about baking powders; have you analyzed 

Answer. Yes; I have analyzed a great many baking powders. The 
baking powders most commonly in use in this country are the tartrate 
and the alum baking powders. The tartrate baking powder is the 
ideal baking powder. That consists of the acid tartrate of potash, 
which is obtained from the grape. When the wine ferments the alco- 
hol is formed, and the tartrate, being less soluble than the alcohol, 
that acid is precipitated onto the sides and bottom of the cask, and 
this is taken and purified and mixed with bicarbonate of soda and a 
little starch, to keep it dry and to act as a filler; and when it is mixed 
with water and mixed with the bread the acid tartrate decomposes 
and sets free carbonic acid, which causes the bread to leaven and rise 
and make it porous, and of course the object of making bread porous 
is to improve its digestibility. Within certain limits the more porous 
the bread is the more readily is it digested, because the gastric juice 
and other secretions get into the pores better. More or less of it 
remains even after mastication and it aids in digestion. So I think 
there can not be any objection to the use of the tartrate baking pow- 
ders. On the other hand, I am quite positive that the alum baking 
powders should be condemned, and for these reasons: In the first 
place, the action of alum on the bicarbonate of soda is irregular and 
uncertain. No chemist can mix these substances in such proportions 
that under all conditions it will give off a definite amount of carbonic- 
acid gas, and consequently the kind of bread formed with an alum 
baking powder will vary, and vary under the conditions of tempera- 
ture and amount of water or kind of dough and conditions which the 
maker of the bread can not know or control. That is one reason. 
The bread is liable to be inferior. 

The second reason is this: The alum works upon the bicarbonate of 
soda so slowly and imperfectly that in a great many cases the residue 
of the alum is left unchanged, and that is liable to be harmful. We 
know that alum in large doses is seriously harmful, and even in small 
quantities, in doses of 5 grains or more, it is an astringent, and it inter- 
feres with the secretion of the gastric juices and has an astringent 
effect upon the intestines, is liable to cause constipation; and for these 


reasons it is injurious, especially when it is taken two or three times 
a day over a long period of time. 

Then, again, even when the alum undergoes decomposition, it forms 
either the phosphate of aluminum* orthe hydrate of aluminum, or both, 
and both of these are soluble to some extent in the gastric juices of the 
stomach, and both of them are soluble in albuminous substances. 
They are taken into the system in small quantities, it is true, but it is 
a harmful substance even in small quantities, and is injurious. 

Q. Is alum found in any natural product? — A. It is not found in 
any natural food; no. Of course there are waters that contain forms 
of alum, natural waters; but the tartrate of potash is in the grape, 
which is a natural food. I believe the grape contains about 1 per cent 
of acid tartrate of potash, and of course in eating a pound of grapes 
one would get from 4 to 5 grains of tartrate of potash, and no one 
would claim that that was injurious; and, besides, the substance that 
is formed from the action of the tartrate of potash on the bicarbonate 
of soda — these Rochelle salts — is not injurious. In fact, these acid 
salts, as Dr. Prescott has said, are beneficial to the body, as is shown 
by the fact that they prevent scurvy, etc. 


Albert B. Prescott, being first duly sworn, testified as follows: 
Examination by the Chairman: 

Q. Will you give your full name, please? — A. Albert B. Prescott. 

Q. Where is your residence? — A. Ann Arbor, Iklich. 

Q. And your profession? — ^A. I am a chemist, and college teacher 
of chemistry and allied subjects. 

Q. How long have you been engaged in the study and practice of 
chemistry? — ^A. Since 1865. 

Q. Did you graduate from any college or university? — A. Tes, sir. 

Q. From what? — A. From the University of Michigan. 

Q. And what is your position there now? — ^A. I am director of the 
chemical laboratory and dean of the school of pharmacy, and pro- 
fessor of organic chemistry. 

Q. What is your opinion as to the baking powders, as to how they 
should be branded or marked? You understand that we have two 
branches of this inquiry. One is to determine and report to the Sen- 
ate what food products are deleterious to health, and what are not 
necessajily deleterious to health, but are simply frauds upon the con- 
sumer. Are there any baking powders which you have examined that 
you consider deleterious to health — ^the contents deleterious to 
health? — ^A. I think the constituent of baking powders most objec- 
tionable, so far as I know, in this country at present, is alum. The 
term ** baking powder," without qualification, carries to the public 
mind, I believe, an impression of a tartrate baking powder, and I am 
not quite sure, but I am inclined to think, that any other baking pow- 
der than that made by mixing cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda 
and a due quantity of filling — ^that any other baking powder should 
have its composition announced on the package. At any rate, I am 
very sure that any baking powder containing alum, if allowed to be 
sold, should have the presence of the alum clearly stated on each 


Q. What is alum? — A. Alum is a doable sulphate of aluminum and 
an alkali metal; aluminum and soda, quite generally. 

Q. How is it made? I don't understand. You say it is a product 
of aluminum and soda? — ^A. Yes; it is a combination of one acid and 
two bases, one of which is aluminum and the other an alkali metal, 
made by the manufacturing procedure. As a salt of aluminum it 
contains an astringent which has an effect on the human system and 
digestive apparatus in the nature of medicinal effect; medicinal when 
applied with remedial intent, but injurious when taken habitually day 
after day and indiscriminately by those who do not know what it is. 

Q. The suggestion has been made by some other witness — ^and we 
wish to hear all sides — that alum undergoes a change in baking, so 
that when it goes into the stomach there is no alum in the stomach. 
What change does it undergo in baking, if you know. Doctor? — ^A. Jn 
the mixing of the bread sponge, of course, it undergoes a change] 
otherwise it would not be a baking powder at all. It is designed to 
give rise to carbonic-acid gas and does undergo a change. I know 
the claim is made, which I have considered a great many times, that 
it becomes nearly or quite insoluble, and therefore inert in the stom- 
ach. Now, doubtless some portion of the alum does become very 
difficultly soluble in the stomach, and not all of the alum comes into 
solution in the stomach. Nobody can tell how much. No two stom- 
achs are in exactly the same condition. The contents of the stomach, 
the chemical agencies of solution in the stomach, are very, very com- 
plex; in fact, too complex to be fully defined by chemistry at the 
present time. The alum is liable to go into solution, and if not fully 
dissolved when in the condition of aluminum hydrate or other com- 
pound of alum in contact with the acidulous and albuminous fluids of 
the stomach it is liable to go into combinations with the digestive 
agents of the stomach and with the principles of food, the constituents 
of food, so as to have its effect as an astringent and a precipitant, 
which effect, though very slight, when continued from month to month 
and year to year, tends to impair the sources of nutrition. 

The chairman submitted the following letters, which were ordered 
printed with the testimony: 

Ann Arbor, January 31, 1900. 

Dear Sir: In compliance with your request of January 24, 1900, 1 
desire to present the following statement. 

In testifying before your committee when sitting in Chicago last 
year I said: 

**At any rate, I am very sure that any baking powder containing 
alum, if allowed to be sold, should have the presence of the alum 
clearly stated on each package. 

"In my present judgment, it would be well to prohibit the sale of 
baking powders or other articles of food to which alum has been added, 
as soon as proper legal enactments can be reached in the course of 
regular legislation. This judgment is based partly upon the fact 
that alum and other aluminum salts are inherently injurious, actually 
poisonous to the system, so far as they gain admission to the circula- 
tion of the blood. Exact researches upon the effect of aluminum 
salts when they are introduced into the blood show that they cause 
degeneration of nervous and other tissues, acting slowly and insidi- 
ously in their course. Some extent of solubility of aluminum com- 
pounds and some degree of their absorption into the circulation will 
result from the general use of alum baking powders. In the measure 
" ^^^ same solubility the gluten-like parts of food are hardened, and 


the mucous coat is treated with an astringent. If the mucous coat 
be abraded, introduction into the circulation is greatly increased. 
Generally so little aluminum compound goes into solution in the 
stomach and so very little enters the circulation of the blood from the 
habitual use of alum baking powders that no observed effects are 
traced to this cause, nor can they easily be so traced at once. A 
slight addition of almost any poison can be made to food without harm 
being seen to come of it, as we do not see any movement of the hour 
hand of a clock. None the less, poisons should be legally excluded 
from food." 

Very respectfully submitted. Albert B. Prescott. 

Senator William E. Mason, 

Chairman of the Committee on the Investigation 

of Pure Foods, United States Senate, Washington, D. C. 


Prof. John William Mallet sworn and examined: 

The Chairman. Please state your profession. 

Professor Mallet. I am professor of chemistry in the University 
of Virginia. 

The Chairman. You might state, if you please, for the purposes 
of the record, where you obtained your training. 

Professor Mallet. Chiefly at the University of Gottingen, in Ger- 

The Chairman. How long have you held the position which you 
now occupy? 

Professor Mallet. I have occupied that position since 1868, with 
the exception of two sessions, when I lectured elsewhere. 

The Chairman. Without stating all of the scientific societies with 
which you are or have been connected, you might, if you please, state 
some of those societies. 

Professor Mallet. I am fellow of the Royal Society of London; 
member of the Chemical Society of this country (the American) ; mem- 
ber of the Chemical Society of Paris, France, and of the English and 
German societies (London and Berlin). Those are, perhaps, the most 
pertinent to be given in reply to your question. 

The Chairman. In the course of your professional duties have you 
had occasion to take up the matter of food adulteration? 

Professor Mallet. To a considerable extent. 

The Chairman. I understand that you are here as a disinterested 
witness. You are not interested in the manufacture or sale of any 
baking powder, for instance. 

Professor Mallet. No. 

The Chairman. Your position in the university and your studies 
and training, your experience and your work as a professional man 
have put you in a position to be called as an expert, and the committee 
are very glad to avail themselves of your opinion, and I desire to say 
that we are indebted to you for your attendance here and shall be very 
glad to have your opinion upon this matter of baking powders. 

Professor Mallet. Perhaps it will be best for me to state in general 
terms what my opinion is. 

It is pretty generally conceded, I think, that alum in itself is an 
unwholesome substance; in fact, text-books on medical jurisprudence, 
for instance, class it as a poison. It is not a virulent poison in the 



sense that arsenic or corrosive sublimate are poisons — ^that is, it is not 
fatal in small doses, but that it is unwholesome taken into the system 
is, I think, practically conceded by everybody. 

The use of alum along with bicarbonate t)f soda in baking powders 
grew up in this country some twenty or twenty-five years ago and has 
become a very largely practiced industry, mainly in consequence of 
two facts: First, that the alum baking powders make very pretty look- 
ing bread; they produce the effect of lightening the bread, without 
interference with its color when properly manufactured; and, secondly, 
that it is a very cheap material. On the other hand, as soon as its use 
became known there was very extended complaint made that alum, an 
injurious substance, was being introduced into food preparations. . 

The answer which the manufacturers gave to this complaint is that 
the alum does not remain as alum in the bread; that it acts on the 
bicarbonate of soda and is intended to act upon it, giving off carbonic- 
acid gas, which lightens the bread or renders it porous, and leaves 
behind products of the decomposition of alum, of which the two 
principal substances are hydroxide of aluminum and phosphate of 

As to the latter I ought to say that the phosphate of aluminum is 
due to one of two causes — either the existence of phosphates in flour, 
which are always present in small amount and will produce a minute 
amount of phosphate of aluminum, or the addition of phosphate of 
calcium, which has been used to produce the same effect. Some 5 or 
6 per cent or perhaps more is very commonly added to the alum bak- 
ing powders and that leaves some aluminum present as phosphate. 

The claim of the manufacturers was that these two substances, 
hydroxide of aluminum and phosphate of aluminum, and also sul- 
phate of sodium, which is produced at the same time, are unobjection- 
able, although the alum, if it remained unchanged, would have been 

The present state of our knowledge, it seems to me, is this: We 
have first to encounter in the use of alum in baking powder the dan- 
ger of imperfect manufacture. If either the alum or the soda is not 
weighed out in proper proportion, an excess of alum being used, there 
will not be enough soda to decompose all the alum, and there will be 
some alum left in the bread after being made. That might seem to 
be a very trifling objection, because it is so easy to weigh a thing 
accurately, and I do not suppose there is much danger of that occur- 
ring on the part of the larger manufacturers; but tiie simplicity and 
cheapness of the manufacture is such that a multitude of alum baking 
powders are being put upon the market, some of them made in a very 
small way, and by people practically altogether ignorant of chemistry. 

I have had one or two instances fall under my own observation of 
people who can hardly be classed as manufacturers in the larger sense 
of the term, who have taken up that manufacture in quite a small 
way, who have started a brand of their own, and in whose care, even 
as to weighing, I should not feel much confldence. 

In the next place, assuming the weighing to be right, we have the 
risk of imperfect mixture. You may locally have an excess of alum 
in one part and an excess of soda in another, and in such case, if there 
were an imperfect mixture, you would have to encounter in the third 
place an imperfect mixture of the baking powder with the flour on 
the part of tiie cook. 

If you assume that some parts of the baking powder contain an 
excess of alum, and those parts are not properly mixed with the flour, 


you would have in perhaps a single loaf more alum than belonged to 
the particular mixture. So that I do not tliink it can be altogether 
unworthy of consideration — the possibility that alum itself, admitted 
on all hands to be injurious, would remain in the bread. 

Senator Foster. That is owing to the danger of the matters being 
improperly mixed? 

Professor Mallet. Owing to either imperfect weighing or imperfect 
mixing, or, in the third place, an imperfect mixture of the flour by 
the cook. 

Disposing of that, the more important question a great deal is the 
one I referred to just now, namely, assuming that the powder is 
properly mixed, whether the substances that remain in the bread are 
or are not harmful. That is the one that I undertook to examine from 
a purely scientific point of view, and I published a paper on the subject 
in one of the London scientific journals. I will leave a copy of that 
with you. 

My general conclusions from the experiments I made were these: I 
first experimented with baking powders containing alum, many dif- 
ferent brands, to which water was added to ascertain whether any of 
the aluminum remained in soluble form. I found that there was a 
small proportion of the aluminum in soluble form after the action. I 
then experimented with an artificial gastric juice, placing it under 
the conditions of digestion — a solution of dilute hydrochloric acid and 
pepsin. On the one hand I found that some of the aluminum 
hydroxide or phosphate passed into solution, and on the other hand 
some of the pepsin was coagulated. 

I then experimented on myself, making some twenty-four or twenty- 
five experiments. Taking hydroxide of aluminum and phosphate of 
aluminum — ^taking the two substances into which the aluminum of the 
alum was converted — I found that whenever the dose was not less 
than, I think, 20 grains of the hydroxide of aluminum there were 
distinct indications of indigestion — heaviness and all the common 
symptoms of indigestion. It seems to inhibit, as the physiologists 
say, or interfere with digestion. 

Now, pursuing what I was saying a moment ago, the question as to 
the activity or inactivity of these two substances — the hydroxide of 
aluminum and phosphate of aluminum — ^is manifestly concerned with 
and involves the action not of water only but of the gastric juice, 
because these are brought into contact with that when actual use is 
made of bread produced with alum baking powders. It is notoriously 
a fact that the gastric juice contains, as the two most active princi- 
ples, hydrochloric acid on the one hand and pepsin or animal ferment 
on the other. 

Now, hydrochloric acid, when brought in contact with either 
hydroxide of aluminum or phosphate of aluminum, Avill dissolve them, 
and, therefore, the claim originally made that the substances are 
inert because they are insoluble is not true when, instead of Avater, 
they are exposed to the action of gastric juice. They are not in- 
soluble in gastric juice. On the contrary, they are dissolved. And 
what perhaps technically increases the force of the objection is that 
we must remember the presence of the sulphate of sodium, which is 
formed at the same time. If you have sulphate of sodium and 
chloride of aluminum together, sulphate of aluminum would be re- 
formed to some extent. In other words, you reconstitute the alum in 
the stomach. Admitting that the alum might cease to be alum in the 
constitution of the bread, it is reconstituted by the action oi tikA 



gastric juice. The conclusion that I have arrived at amounts to a 
belief in the unwholesomeness of alum baking powders habitually 

As I have already stated, in regard to matters of food adulteration, 
there has been much exaggeration. I do not think it is desirable in 
the matter of corrective legislation that the adulteration of anything 
should be exaggerated. Alum is spoken of by some of the newspapers 
of the day as a deadly poison. So far as that might be construed 
to mean a deadly poison in the same sense that corrosive sublimate or 
arsenic is so characterized, I do not believe in it, but, on the other 
hand, the use of alum is undoubtedly deleterious to health, esi)ecially 
to children or ladies, or persons of weak digestion, perhaps more than 
to men in robust health. I think that is undeniable. 

In regard to baking powder, I think we are in a position to say that 
no serious detriment is to be looked for in anyone piece of bread, but, 
on the other hand, deleterious effects are to be looked for firom the 
habitual use of the bread. 

The question of alum in water turns on the same idea, but the amount 
is smaller, and it is a more delicate question as to whether anybody 
would be injured by it. I should myself hesitate to use water treated 
with alum in the proportion, perhaps, in which it is generally used, 
and I am about to recommend to the council that they avoid it. 


Chief Chemist U. S. Agricultural Department. 

Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, recalled and further examined: 

The Chairman. What is your opinion about alum as food? 

Dr. Wiley. My opinion is that it is a poor stuff for food. As I 
have said repeatedly, I do not use it in my own house, and would not 
use alum in bread if I knew it. 

The Chairman. Taking the weight of authority of scientific, un- 
prejudiced, and disinterested men, the weight of authority of such 
scientific men is against the use of alum, is it not? 

Dr. Wiley. Yes; because alum is regarded as injurious to the sys- 
tem by most authorities. 

testimony of dr. WILLIAM M'MURTRIE, 
President American Chemical Society, ez-chief chemist U. S. Department of Asrricaltxire. 

The Chairman. I desire to direct your attention to the question of 
baking powders. 

Dr. McMuRTRiE. I may say with regard to the reaction developed 
in the use of the cream of tartar baking powder in the production of 
bread that the cream of tartar, which is the acid constituent reacting 
with the bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, which is the alkaline 
constituent, liberates from the bicarbonate of soda carbon dioxide, or 
carbonic acid, in the form of gas, and leaves as a residue in the bread 
sodium potassium tartrate. 

This compound, when it enters the animal system, particularly the 
human system, with food, is disposed of in the process of digestion in 
exactly the same way as other vegetable substances of like character, 
and is digested in exactly the same way as sugar. 

The tartaric acid radical is broken up into carbonic acid and water, 



in the same way that sugar is broken up. The alkaline radical takes 
part in the process of assimilation; it passes into the blood, supplying 
the necessary alkaline constituents thereof; it is eliminated by the 
kidneys in the normal exercise of tlieir functions, and it tends, there- 
fore, to correct any unfavorable acidity which may occur in the fluids 
of the body. 

I am stating this fact rather as a chemist than as a physiologist, 
although it is accepted by the highest and best medical and physio- 
logical authorities of the world. The quantity of the tartrates which 
may be ingested thus in food is, of course, somewhat variable, but the 
amount which is found in the ordinary loaf of bread made with cream 
of tartar baking powder will be equivalent to about that contained in 
a pound and a half of good ripe grapes. And it would seem, there- 
fore, that no further statement would be needed regarding the health- 
fulness and wholesomeness and value of such a substance as a food 

If, on the other hand, we pass over to the other classes of baking 
powders, we find that there two or more, but that which is most widely 
distributed in the markets of the United States has for its acid con- 
stituent alum of one kind or another. 

In the markets of the United States and of the world we find prin- 
cipally three of the alums which have been used for such purpose. 
The first is known as potassium alum, which the chemists recognize 
and name as the double sulphate of aluminum and potassium; second, 
ammonium alum, which is known by the chemists as the double 
sulphate of aluminum and ammonium, less expensive than the first; 
and the soda alum, or double sulphate of aluminum and sodium, less 
expensive than either. 

The last-named compound is that now most largely used in the manu- 
facture of alum baking powder. It is rarely offered even to the 
manufacturers of baking powder as alum, and by many of the manu- 
facturers of the cheaper'grades of baking powder is not known as such 
at all. It is labeled, offered, and billed generally, and most largely, 
as ** C. T. S.," which are the initials for *' Cream of tartar substitute." 
It is offered to manufacturers who do not employ chemists; who them- 
selves have no knowledge of chemistry; who have no opportunity to 
know what is the composition and value of this product except as it is 
declared to them by the manufacturer. 

The manufacturers of alum baking powder, as a rule, know nothing 
of the strength of this product, and the larger proportion of these 
manufacturers will admit that in their manufacture they are guided 
entirely, regarding its strength and use, by the manufacturer of the 
product; that they are told that this has the capacity to neutralize 
and use up so much baking soda or bicarbonate of soda, and in 
accordance with such direction they use it in the manufacture of their 

There are good authorities who believe, and with reason, that the 
reaction between alum and bicarbonate of soda is never complete; 
that it is impossible for bicarbonate of soda under any conditions to 
effect the complete decomposition of this peculiar compound of alu- 
mina; and that, therefore, particularly in the conditions occurring in 
the process of baking bread made with the alum baking powder, there 
must always remain in the finished bread a certain proportion at least 
of unchanged alum. Whether it exists as unchanged alum or as a 
peculiar basic compound of aluminum is indifferent, because when 
these indeterminate substances, together with the aluminum hydro-siiiA 



"which is undoubtedly produced, are brought into contact op admixture 
with weak acids they are properly brought into solution; in fact, they 
are readily soluble in weak acids, and they produce the salts of 

The salts of alumina, when in solution in presence of sodium sul- 
phate, undergo a change; the constituents of all the comi)ounds in 
solutions suffer redistribution, as it were, and we know that in all 
such redistributions all compounds that are possible from the con- 
stituents present are produced. 

It is manifest, therefore, to the chemist, and must be manifest to the 
lay mind, that when aluminum sulphate, produced, as it must be, in 
this way, is in solution with sodium sulphate, these constituents exist 
in the solution in every respect in the same way as does soda alum in 
solution, and in view of the fact that the contents of the stomach in 
digestion contain acids of various sorts, particularly hydrochloric acid, 
secreted with the gastric juice, particularly lactic acid and butyrix 
acid, almost invariably produced in the process of digestion, the con- 
ditions of solution wluch I have described must always exist in the 
stomach during the process of digestion of bread which has been made 
with an alum baking powder and has been digested with other food. 
Therefore, all of the medicinal and therapeutic influences ascribed 
to alum by the medical fraternity, pharmacologists, therai)eutists, 
and physiologists must obtain in the stomach during the process of 
digestion of such bread made with the alum baking powder; there is 
no choice to intelligent men, and they must believe that this substance 
which is accepted by the medical fraternity to be an astringent to have 
an influence upon the mucous surfaces, constricting the parts, inter- 
fering with the secretion of the natural fluids through them, must be 
injurious to the consumer, and must be prejudicial to health. 

It is said that the aluminum hydroxide in the bread is insoluble, 
has been rendered insoluble in the reaction occurring in the process 
of baking, and it has been denied that alum or any soluble alumina 
compound can exist in the bread. 

This, however, has been proven by able chemists to be incorrect, in 
view of the fact that when bread which has been made with alum 
baking powder is extracted with cold water, the water solution evap- 
orates and the organic matters or carbon compounds are properly 
destroyed, so that they may have no influence whatever upon the 
tests to be applied, the presence of alumina or of aluminum com- 
pounds is undoubtedly revealed when proper tests are applied. 

Soluble alumina compounds and free alum, therefore, do exist in 
bread made with alum baking powder, and whether from the bread 
itself, or whether from the result of the reactions occurring in the 
stomach, the system must be subjected to the action of these soluble 
alumina compounds when such bread is consumed. 

When they enter the circulation we have the word of Professor 
Robert, of Dorpat, Germany, the leading authority in toxicology in 
the world, that they are poisonous. Discussing the experimental 
results achieved by Dr. Siem, he declares that the alumina compounds 
in the blood, and practically irrespective of the combination in which 
they are found there, have a distinctly toxic action upon the animal 
system. Not only he but others have found that when these alumina 
compounds are taken into the system they may be found in the princi- 
pal organs, a^ the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, and even the brain, 
while Dr« Eobert indicates that ttie tendency of the alumina salts is 


particularly directed, in the brain, to the region of the medulla, which, 
I believe, is accepted by the neurologists to be the most sensitive part. 

Dr. Robert has further shown that these alumina compounds in 
their toxic action are very slow; that after introduction in the blood 
it often happens that no symptoms are observed for several days, 
when intense nervous disturbance occurs, showing that the nervous 
system particularly may be very decidedly affected by the introduc- 
tion of those compounds. 

When we study these various organs and their functions we learn 
that they exorcise their functions largely by the operation of diffu- 
sion, and when we study the operation of the diffusion upon the 
aluminum compounds we find that while in many cases the acid rad- 
ical of the aluminum compound will pass through the dialyzing mem- 
brane, the aluminum constituent will be left behind; and because of. 
this difficult diffusibility of the aluminum compounds they will not 
pass through the organs in the exercise of their functions with the 
same rapidity that other substances do — ^like the salts of potassium 
and sodium, for instance — ^but remain in these organs, and the 
repeated periodical ingestion of the aluminum compounds would 
induce such an accumulation as to interfere seriously with the proper 
exercise of the functions of the organs. 

It has been stated by high medical authority — it was stated, I 
believe, by Dr. Flint in the evidence referred to — ^that alum exercises 
an astringent influence in the human body, astringent first upon the 
mucous surfaces, astringent further when carried by the blood 
through the different organs. 

It is found in the later pharmaceutical authorities in the United 
States, and particularly in the United States Pharmacopoeia, copied 
from the German Pharmacopoeia, that alumina — that is, the alumi- 
num hydrate — is described as a medical agQut and as an astringent. 

We further know that in the dialysis of the aluminum compounds 
the aluminum compound left behind in the process is aluminum hy- 
drate. It would, of course, be beyond my province to say, as a 
physiologist, that the aluminum hydrate that might be produced, for 
instance, in the kidneys would have an astringent and constricting 
action upon the cells of the kidneys; but it would seem reasonable to 
suppose that if aluminum hydroxide is an astringent under any cir- 
cumstances it would be an astringent then. 

So that it necessarily follows that when the aluminum compounds 
are used as food they must have, and do have, an injurious and dele- 
terious influence upon the system. 

Furthermore, we know, as chemists, that no compound of aluminum 
is ever found in the natural food of either vegetable or animal origin. 
I may say that it is never found in any flowering plant. It has been 
stated that alumina compounds have been found in wheat. I believe 
there is only one recorded statement to that effect in all the thousands 
of analyses of that cereal which have been published. It was made 
by a chemist of Japan. To my knowledge he does not state how the 
wheat was harvested or how it was thrashed; whether by the modern 
and improved methods or by the ancient methods in which the grain 
is trampled out under the feet of animals on the ground; and there 
is opportunity for very reasonable doubt Avhether the alumina which 
he said existed in the wheat was there as a proper and physiological 
constituent of the wheat or whether it was adventitious and was 
attached to the outside of the grain and obtained from the ground. 



It has been stated further that alnminnm coini)ouiid8 exist in pota- 
ble waters in quantities sufficient to be taken into account in the con- 
sideration of this question. I venture to say that in no proper potable 
water, containing, as it should, in certain quantities at least, the car- 
bonates of the alkalis and the alkali earths, is it possible for alumina 
or its compounds to exist in appreciable quantities. 

The alum used in the manufacture of these cheap baking powders 
costs no more than 3^ cents a pound. 

The Chairman. Per pound of baking powder? 

Dr. McMuRTRiB. No; 3^ cents a pound of the alum that is in it. 
For the materials it contains, the pound of baking powder costs less 
than 2 cents. 

I think I have stated that, after the most careful consideration, the 
use of alum in any form is absolutely prohibited in England, France, 
and Germany. 

Senator Foster. In any quantity? 

Dr. McMURTRiB. In any quantity, in any food. And this was done 
only after the most careful consideration of the subject and its most 
thorough discussion. That discussion is obtainable by anybody who 
desires to look into the literature of the subject. 

It has been further stated that the literature relating to the health- 
fulness or unhealthfulness of alum when used in food is limited; but 
it is readily determined, through official publications, that it has been 
the subject of careful consideration by the various governmental 
authorities; by the authorities of States; by the boards of health; by 
the food commissioners and by other bodies constituted for the pur- 
pose of the study of this question; and I venture to say that in no case 
has the use of alum in food ever been indorsed by such authorities. 

The Chairman. I think that is all we desire to ask, Dr. McMurtrie, 
and the committee is much obliged to you. 


Dr. William R. Kerr, sworn and examined: 

The Chairman. Please state your residence and profession. 

Dr. Kerr. I reside in the city of Chicago, and am a physician by 

The Chairman. I desire to ask your opinion with reference to a 
subject that has come before this committee in connection with the 
investigation of the question of pure foods, namely, the use of alum 
in baking powders. Will you please state what your opinion is on 
that subject? 

Dr. Kerr. During my professional experience, and particularly 
while health officer of the city of Chicago, 111., my attention was on 
numerous occasions called to the use of sulphate of aluminum, or 
alum, in food stuffs, particularly in baking powders, and the deleteri- 
ous effect of its use upon health. 

From the various analyses presented for my inspection, and the 
results of its use upon the human system brought to my attention, I 
am satisfied that it is extremely injurious. First, it impairs digestion; 
is an excessive irritant; produces many forms of disorders upon the 
digestive organs; precipitates constipation and impairs the action of 
the kidneys and bladder. I regard it as an insidious cumulative 
poison, and believe that its continued use will eventually become a 
menace to life itself. 


I am heartily in favor of the enactment of legislation prohibiting 
its use and making the violation of a law to that effect a felony, 
punishable by fine and imprisonment. 


Professor of agricultural chemistry, Ohio State University, 1343 Forsyth avenue. 

Columbus, Ohio, January 15, 1900. 
Hon. William E. Mason, Chairman, 

Washington, D. C. 

Dear Sir: In response to your message, I have the honor to submit 
the following opinion in regard to alum baking powder: 

It is well known that alum is generally used in the manufacture of 
the cheap brands of baking powder to be found upon our markets. 
For example, during the summer of 1887 the Ohio State dairy and 
food commission collected 36 different brands of baking powder and 
submitted them to me for analysis. They were found to consist of 
three classes of powders. The classes and the number of brands in 
each class are. as follows: 

1. Cream of tartar baking powder 8 

2. Phosphatic baking powder 2 

3. Alum baking powder : 20 

It may be stated in this connection that the amount of carbon diox- 
ide evolved from the third class was only about one-half of the 
amount evolved by the other two, so that, in order to obtain the same 
results, nearly twice as much alum baking powder would have to be 
used as either of the other two classes. 

The objections to the use of alum in baking powders, from a sani- 
tary point of view, are: 

1. Baking powders containing alum introduce into our food a new 
element to which the human system has not been accustomed. Alu- 
minum compounds do not occur in either the vegetable or animal, 
matters which are the source of food for man. 

2. Alum is a drug of well-known astringent property. In sufficient 
quantity it produces constipation, and for this reason its indiscrimi- 
nate use in our food must be regarded as a menace to health. 

3. Alum forms insoluble compounds with albuminoids- It precipi- 
tates the ferments necessary to digestion and makes them inactive, 
and is thus directly opposed to process of nutrition. 

The claim that in a baking powder these deleterious properties of 
alum are destroyed owing to the decomposition of the alum by the 
sodium bicarbonate and the formation of insoluble and inert oxide of 
aluminum (AlgOg) is untenable. The result of the decomposition is 
not aluminum oxide, but aluminum hydroxide (Al2(II O)^. This 
hydroxide is in itself a mild astringent, but it is really soluble in 
dilute acid and consequently in the juice of the stomach. The salt 
thus formed acts in all respects as the alum itself. 

4. In the decomposition of the alum during the process of cooking 
sodium sulphate (Glauber's salts) is formed. This salt is extremely 
bitter and imparts its bitter taste to the food prepared by the use of 
alum baking powder and makes it unpalatable. Unpalatable food 
of any kind seriously interferes with the process of digestion, since it 
checks the secretion of the digestive fluids. 

H. A. Webeb. 



statements op surg. gen. george m. sternberg, u. s. a., and 
deputy surg. gen. charles smart, u. s. a. 

Surgeon-General's Office, 
Washington, D. C, January 16, 1900. 

Some years ago, when on dutj^ with the National Board of Health, 
I made an examination of a number of articles of food, with a view 
to determine the prevalence of harmful adulterations. Two series of 
samples of each article were examined, one series derived from sources 
from which purity might be expected and the other from sources 
which might be presumed to yield low grade if not adulterated goods. 
No alum was found in 58 samples of flour, 30 of which belonged to 
the first series and 28 to the second; but of 18 samples of bread 
belonging to the second series 8 contained alum. In 12 baking pow- 
ders of the first series there was no alum, but of 6 samples purchased 
in stores frequented by the poorer classes of the community 5 were 
alum powders. 

It is well known that alum is a powerful astringent, which would 
speedily have harmful effects if it were taken into the human system 
as alum. That some of it may be taken into the system in this 
form, by the use of alum baking powders, through carelessness in 
kneading, or great excess of alum in the powder, is among the possi- 
bilities to be remembered in considering this subject. 

But it is well known, also, that the reaction which takes place 
between the sodium bicarbonate and the alum in kneading the bak- 
ing powder into the dough destroys the alum by precipitating the 
insoluble aluminum hydrate, while some of the phosphates of the 
flour are thrown down in combination with alumina. The hydrate 
and phosphate of alumina are considered by some to be insoluble in 
the gastric juices, and consequently to be inert. By others they are 
held to interfere with the digestibility of the bread and of other 
articles of food in the stomach. It is difficult to connect dyspepsia in 
the human subject with the use of alum baking powders, but many 
laboratory experiments have been performed which support the view 
that digestion is impaired by the presence in the stomach of the sub- 
stances formed during the decomposition of the alum. 

I consider that the public health would be improved by the substi- 
tution of bitartrate baking powders for alum powders, and by the 
exclusion of alum from bread and all bread-making materials. 

No alum powder is furnished to the Army by the Subsistence 

Chas. Smart, 
Lieut, Col, and Deputy Surgeon- General, U. 8. Army. 

I concur in the views of Lieutenant- Colonel Smart as expressed 

George M. Sternberg, 

Surgeon- General, U. S. Army. 


Prof. Charles Edward Munroe, sworn and examined: 

The Chairman. Please state what your profession is. 
Professor Munroe. I am professor of chemistry in the Columbian 
The CHi^lRMAN. In Washington? 


Professor MuNROB. Yes. 

The Chairman. This committee is investigating the subject of ptire 
foods. One branch of the subject is as to what food is so adulterated 
as to be deleterious to public health; the other branch relates ^o that 
class of foods that are sophisticated, cheapened, but not necessarily 
dangerous to public health. We wish to ask you a few questions on 
these subjects. Preliminarily, perhaps it would be well, for the pur- 
poses of the record, if you would be good enough to state what your 
experience has been in the line of the subjects which I have indicated. 

Professor Munrob. My experience as a chemist is as follows: I 
was graduated as a Bachelor of Science in Harvard University in 187X; 
I taught chemistry in Harvard University until 1874; I was professor 
of chemistry at the United States Naval Academy from 1874 to 188G; 
I was chemist at the United States Torpedo Station and War College 
from 1886 to 1892; I have been professor of chemistry since that time 
in the Columbian University. 

While at Harvard University I was engaged by the State board of 
health of Massachusetts in the examination of foods for adulterations. 
I have been engaged upon many sanitary problems. At the request 
of the American Public Health Association, I have made investiga- 
tions upon the use of cotton-seed oil as food, and throughout my 
career, although I have been a teacher of general chemistry, I have 
been interested in the chemistry of foods. 

The Chairman. The committee has been requested to call several 
gentlemen of your profession or physicians to ask more particularly 
as to one item regarding which there has been some considerable dis- 
pute — ^that of baking powder. I will, therefore, ask you what your 
opinion is as to the use of alum in baking powder or for food generally? 

Professor Munrob. I believe that in regard to the introduction of 
any material as a food we should be guided largely by the indications 
of nature, and that we should not introduce a foreign body which does 
not appear naturally in the vegetable or animal organism. 

The use of cream of tartar is indicated from the fact that the tar- 
trates occur naturally in vegetation. The use of phosphates is indi- 
cated by the fact that phosphates occur • in animal and vegetable 
organisms. The use of aluminum salts is not so indicated. 

I have examined many hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of analy- 
ses from time to time as I have read the literature of animal and 
vegetable material, but rarely have found that aluminum was present 
in any, and in the cases in which it was present it was not shown that 
it was not present accidentally. 

The Chairman. By aluminum you mean alum? 

Professor Munrob. I will get to that point in a moment. 

This is the more remarkable in that, according to the best estimates, 
aluminun is the third element in rank in abundance of all the ele- 
ments that constitute the earth, its atmosphere (its aqueous and its 
aerial atmosphere). As a constituent of clay and of other minerals it 
occurs widely disseminated through the soil in which vegetation grows, 
and yet nature selects calcium, iron, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sul- 
phur, sodium, and potassium — quite a large number of elements — 
but it rejects aluminum. 

Therefore, I say that it has seemed to me (and in the past I have so 
held) that this indicates that aluminum does not properly enter into 
animal and vegetable organisms. 

In the use of aluminum in the form of alum, which is one of tlx^ 
salts of aluminum, we have a substance wMdilaa»^\i^^T^lw^xv.^>^^ /^^^ 



periraent to be poisonous. The alominum sulphates and the alumi- 
num acetates are mentioned in the works on toxicology as having 
produced a toxic effect upon the human system. 

The Chairman. When you say "toxic," what do yon mean? 

Professor Munroe. Poisonous. In experiments made with salts of 
alumina upon rabbits, pigs, and other animals, poisoning has been 
accomplished by the administration of about one grain per pound of 
the aluminum salts; that is, it is laid down in the books at fifteen 
one-hundredths of a gram to a kilogram of the body weighed. In 
these cases the aluminum compounds were soluble. 

In the making of baking powders in which aluminum salts are used 
it is held that the reaction between the alum and the bread soda 
causes the formation of aluminum hydroxide and of sodium sulphate, 
and that the aluminum hydroxide is insoluble, and therefore will not 
produce the effect of a poison. 

It is well known that while this aluminum hydroxide is but slightly 
soluble in water, it is soluble in lactic acid and acetic acid — that is, 
in organic acids, some of which may occur in the stomach, having 
been produced during the processes of digestion, and that though the 
material is introduced in what is regarded as an insoluble condition, 
it is redissolved when it enters into the stomach. I have therefore 
believed that the alum product in the bread is capable under these 
circumstances of exerting a harmful effect. In any regard I hold that 
where a substance is introduced for use as an article of food which 
has been found to have harmful effects in any quantity, the burden 
of proof that in moderate and repeated doses it does not interfere with 
the normal operation of the human organism lies with the introducers, 
and that the most complete assurance should be given by them before 
the material is used. 

That is a general statement of my views on the subject. 

The Chairman. We are much indebted to you, Professor, for your 

(See also the following letter.) 

The Columbian University, 

Department of Chemistry, 
Washington, D, C, February 5, 1900. 

Senator William E. Mason, 

Chairman Committee on ManufadureSy 

United States Senate, Washington, D, C, 

Dear Sir: In response to your request to be informed as to experi- 
ments which I have made with alum baking powders, I have to state 
that I made three samples of bread, using materials from two different 
brands of alum baking powders found in the market, and from two 
different boxes of the same brand of alum baking powder. I made 
the bread from flour, distilled water, and the baking powder only, and 
also from these ingredients, to which salt and shortening had been 
added, the proportions used being as prescribed in the directions sold 
with the baking powders. 

I digested these breads, after chopping and crushing them, in dis- 
tilled water alone, or in distilled water containing from two to three 
parts of IICi in one thousand, this being about the strength of the 
gastric juice in man, and I placed the chyme or the juice expressed 
from it in dialyzers. I used dialyzers made of animal membranes, of 



parchment, of parchmentized paper, and I employed the bladder 
directly as taken from a recently killed animal, and in every case I 
found aluminum compounds in the dialysates f rom these breads made 
.with alum baking powders. 

It is generally agreed that when alum baking powder is used in 
making bread the residue is left in the bread in the form of aluminum 
hydroxide, and of aluminum phosphate where other phosphates have 
been previously present, and I have found that such aluminum 
hydroxide is soluble in hydrochloric, in acetic, and in lactic acids at 
ordinary temperatures, while the phosphate is soluble in hydrochloric 

Each of these acids are known to be present in the stomach of man 
during digestion. It is also held that after digestion in the stomach 
the food, in solution, eventually reaches the blood by osmose. 

My experiments show conclusively that hydrochloric acid of the 
strength found in the gastric juice of man will, at ordinary tempera- 
tures, dissolve the residues left by alum baking powders in bread 
baked with them, and that the solutions of the aluminum compounds 
thus formed will pass through animal membranes by osmosis. 
Very respectfully, 

Charles E. Munroe. 



Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 

Navy Department, 
Washington^ D. C, January 20 ^ 1900. 
Dear Sir: Referring to your request for a report from this Bureau 
as to the deleterious effect of alum as a constituent of baking powder, 
I would state that there can be no question that the alums (sulphate 
of alumina and ammonia and sulphate of alumina and potassa) fre- 
quently entering into the composition of baking powders are seriously 
injurious to the digestive system, producing a train of symptoms that 
characterize chronic dyspepsia. After all the testimony that has been 
before the public on this point for many years, the use of these cheap 
baking powders continues, and it is very evident that nothing but 
legislative action will do away with the evil. 
Yours, very truly, 

W. D. Van Reypen, 
Surgeon- General United States Navy. 
The Chairman U. S. Senate Committee on Manufactures. 

statement of supervising SURG. GEN. WALTER WYMAN, MARINE- 
hospital service. 

Treasury Department, 
Office of the Supervising Surgeon-General, 

Marine-Hospital Service, 

Washington^ D, (7., January 2^^ 1900. 

Sir: Referring to your request for an expression of opinion as to the 

use of alum in breadstuffs, and particularly baking powders, I have 

to state that alum (sulphate of aluminum and an alkali) applied 

locally to a mucous membrane is both astringent and irritant. It 



should therefore not be used in food products, such as baking pow- 
ders, especially in view of the fact that there are other substances not 
injurious to health having all the necessary properties of a good 
baking powder. 

Baking powders containing alum are not issued by the Marine- 
Hospital Service. The medical purveyor of the service has been 
instructed by the director of our hygienic laboratory, with my con- 
currence, to examine and refuse the purchase of baking powders and 
flour containing alum. 

Respectfully, Walter Wyman, 

Supervising Surgeon- General^ M. H. S. 
Senator William E. Mason, 

Chairman Senate Committee on Manufactures^ 

Washingtonj D. C. 

statement of medical director a. f. price, united states navy. 

United States Naval Hospital, 

Washington^ D. C, January ^7, 1900, 
Dear Sir: Your favor of the 26th instant at hand, and in reply I 
have to say that I have had no practical experience in the use of alum 
in baking powders, but I am decidedly of opinion that cream of tartar 
is relatively harmless, compared with alum. 

I think that the daily use of alum, even in small quantities, would 
have an injurious astringent effect. 

Very truly, yours, A. F. Price, 

Medical Director^ United States Navy, 
Wm. E. Mason, Esq., 

Chairman of the Committee on Investigation of Pure Food. 

statement of assistant surgeon GEORGE F. FREEMAN, UNITED 

states navy. 

United States Naval Hospital, 

Washingtony D. C, January 28 ^ 1900. 
Dear Sir: I consider the continued use of alum in baking powders 
injurious for the reason that some of the alum will remain and be taken 
into the stomach in a soluble form, most probably the hydrate, and 
being soluble in the acid secretions of the stomach will interfere with 
the immediate gastric digestion, and the continued use will bring on 
a more chronic gastritis. 

I think that the use of alum baking powders should be prohibited 
by law; that all baking powders should have a label certifying that 
they are free from alum; that the use of alum by bakers should be 
prohibited by law; and that any breach of the law should be punish- 
able by a suitable fine. 

Very respectfully, Geo. F. Freeman, 

Assistant Su/rgeon, United States Navy. 
Hon. William E. Mason, 

Chairman Senatorial Committee on Pure Foods and 
Food Adulterations^ United States Senate^ Washington, D. O. 




Dear Sir: In reply to your letter of the 26tli, asking for my opinion 
as to the use of "baking powders" containing alum, I would say that 
though I have made many analyses of such baking powders I have not 
had occasion to study their physiological effects; but as a matter of 
information derived from the literature of the subject and the experi- 
ments of others, I am of the opinion that the use of alum in such 
powders is objectionable and should be prevented. 
Yours, truly. 

Hon. William E. Mason. 

Henry Morton. 

statement of dr. WILLIAM W. JOHNSON. 

Washington, D. C, Fehruo/ry S, 1900, 
Dear Sir: The chemists assert that when alum is used in bread 
making its action is uncertain, and that a certain amount of it often 
remains unchanged. If this is a fact, there can be no question of its 
deleterious influence. 

Alum is used in medical practice to contract ttie blood vessels of the 
stomach and intestines, and to diminish the activity of the secretions. 
This effect when produced in a man in health necessarily interferes 
with digestion, and the long continuance of such effect will undoubt- 
edly produce disease. I therefore unqualifiedly unite with those who 
ask for such legislation as will forbid the use of alum for this purpose. 
Very respectfully, 

William W. Johnson, M. D. 
Hon. William E. Mason, 

Chairman Committee on Investigation of Pure Foods, 

United States Senate. 

statement of prof. c. f. chandler. 

Columbia University, 

Department of Chemistry, 
New York, January SO, 1000, 
My Dear Sir: In reply to your letter of January 26, I regret that 
it is entirely beyond my power to comply with your request, for the 
reason that I am so occupied at the present moment that I have not a 
minute to spare. Such a statement as you ask would require some 
considerable time in its preparation, and the matter is too serious for 
a hasty or careless statement on my part. I am entirely opposed to 
the use of alum in baking powders, and nothing would induce me to 
have it used in my family, but as it is a considerable length of time 
since I considered the subject, I have not the facts or arguments at 
hand for a proper treatment of the subject. 
Very truly, yours, 

C. F. Chandler. 
Hon. W. E. Mason, 

United States Senate^ Washington^ D. G. 



To xwdid fine, thii bcxik should be retunwd i 
or before the dite last stamped below. 




• 8, 1900. 


Hon. Wm. : 


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the subject unaer consideration by your committee t||matid8 mn^ 
attention, I am led to believe that the adulteration of food in tl 
United States is much more general than is supposed. Of its d 
terious effects on the welfare of our people there can l)e no doubt. 
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, youra, 

Medical Inspector^ United Suites Nav 



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